Today, visitors to the historic Berlin buildings that comprise the Wasserturm Prenzlauer Berg will find a ritzy block of gentrified apartments that were once simply housing for the workers of the water tower, but this was formerly the site of one of the first Nazi concentration camps.
Built in 1877, the Prenzlauer Berg tower is the oldest water tower in Berlin. The tall, round building held its water in a tank at the top of the building while below it were apartments where the people working the facility could live. The waterwork was used to supply water to the city until 1952, when it was finally retired from service, having become such a local landmark that it was even incorporated into the city’s coat of arms.
When the Nazis came into power a machining building adjacent to the tower began being used as a concentration camp site where Jews, communists, and any other offending party were brought to be murdered without a trial. However the smaller building was torn down, yet the taint of the atrocity still clings to the tower.
Despite the rather uncomfortable history of the site, the former workers’ apartments have been renovated and after a bohemian surge in the 1990s the spaces now command a hefty bit of rent.